A Zen Master’s guide to learning Tableau Server

As a Tableau Zen Master, I am passionate about helping others become better Tableau users. My expertise falls within the realm of IT— I drive one of the largest Tableau Server deployments in the world and have unique skills in automation, governance, and Centers of Excellence. And over the years, I have shared my expertise in lots of venues: in the Tableau Community Forums, on my personal blog, and by leading the Tableau Server Admin User Group (USCA).

In this blog post, I compile some of the most impactful resources from these different venues. There’s something here for everyone, whether you’re getting started with Tableau Server or looking for advanced guidance to help with a larger deployment. 


Getting Started with Tableau Server

There are three user group sessions that can help new admins learn the basics of Tableau Server. Each session has a recording, a written guide, slides and related workbooks.

Tableau Server Admin 101: I cover the “must-do” tasks for every Server Admin as well as the essential information on backup and restore, monitoring, permissions, and upgrades. You can also download the server monitoring workbooks.

Tableau Server Admin 201: I cover how to optimize backgrounder efficiency in Tableau Server. This includes six techniques for solving extract, subscription and flow delays. Feel free to download the useful workbooks. 

Tableau Server Admin 301: I cover how to improve performance on Tableau Server, sharing how to optimize cache settings for better render times, leveraging all of your system memory, and configuring your server so that a few badly designed workbooks won’t bring the whole server down. You will find a few undocumented but yet useful advanced settings.

Feature and Topic Deep-Dives

Once you have a solid foundation, you can deepen your knowledge of Tableau Server by reading about the following. These are popular topics that, in my experience, should be of interest to most audiences in IT. 

Tableau Server Permissions: I take a deep dive into Tableau Server Permissions, helping you understand how Tableau Server permission works at all levels (site, project, workbook, data sources, user, and groups). In the recording, we also hear from David Ciam, a Tableau Solution Engineer who tells us all about the Tableau Server Management Add-On.

Nested Project Permissions: With the 2020.1 release, Tableau added a game-changing feature for nested projects. In this demo, I show you how to lock child project permission independent of the parent project.

Tableau Metrics: I share a deep dive into Tableau Metrics that was released in version 2020.2, helping you understand how Metrics work on Tableau Server. I cover everything from setup to permissions and tracking usage.

Tableau Row Level Security: In an older post, I cover all the basics of row level security. There’s no recording, but the guide should give you an overview.

Resources for Advanced Admins and Large Deployments

If you are a more advanced Server Admin or if you are running a large deployment, I recommend visiting my personal blog. I have written different blog series on topics like: 

  • Advanced Deployments (10 series) 
  • Server Automation (10 series) 
  • Scaling Tableau (10 series) 
  • Governed Self-Service (10 series) 

All of these are important, but I want to call attention to governance— a topic you’ll hear me talk about more and more in the coming year. 

If you’re managing a self-service platform like Tableau, you might find yourself asking questions like, “How do I get buy-in for the necessary controls to scale Tableau Server?” or “How do I prevent one poorly-designed workbook from sending the whole server spinning?” You can learn more by watching a recording of the Governed Self-Service themed user group or by reading my blog series on the same topic. For example, one of my sources of success has been making decisions through a Tableau Governance Council, a group that includes Tableau Jedis from across the business and representatives from IT. 

I hope you find these resources helpful. For even more helpful content, you can attend the next Server Admin User Group. For the latest, subscribe to Tableau Server Admin User Group (USCA) updates. I’d love to see you there! If you are located in the APAC region, you can also check out the APAC Server Admin User Group and subscribe to receive their updates.

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